India and California: Artistic Resonance
This is a photo I made yesterday in Joshua Tree National Park. The brass plate next to the fallen tree is from India. What attracted me to this plate is the spiral patterns, which are an almost universal form, seen in many cutlures, that evoke life-force and motion. It's a decorative plate, useful primarily in being beautiful rather than practical; but I found it at a thrift store for next to nothing, and immediately recognized its possibilities in my art-making. I made a few other photos at this location, with the plate, and today this is the one I keep returning to. 

(Photo made on iPhone with 6x6 camera app, developed by jag.gr. I use their camera apps on my iPhone and iPad more than any others.)

This image is an example of how artistic resonance works for me: "Resonance" is a term from music, which refers to echoing reverbation in an enclosed performance space. More conceptually, it can apply to the reverberation and connection between images, symbols, concepts, sounds, and repeating motifs. I use the term to note "echoes" between images and words, between recurring themes across multiple artistic media, and within a work of art that can be viewed from many levels, or layers. 

I am currently living in the California desert. The earliest half of my childhood was spent in India, in the tropical zone. Resonances between places such as these evoke contrast in ecological climate (wet and dry) but similarity in ambient temperatures (warm to hot). Placing a mythopoetic symbol of spiral life in the apparently-dead desert reminds me that the desert is very much alive. (There were a couple of small striped lizards that dashed off when they saw my shadow, as I walked around looking for the right place to make this image.) Spirals and circles and crooked lines are the geometry of nature, naturally-occurring, fractal in form: self-recursive and self-similar across many scales.  I have seen trees bent by the elements into just such spirals. I have seen rivers take on the shapes of the tree branch in the photo, branched and curved.

The longer I look at an image like this, the more resonances I discover within it. For me, resonance is that quaity in art that keeps making these kinds of linkages, as you view the work of art. Resonance is one of the qualities of a work of art that pulls me in, as a viewer or reader, and keeps me feeling excited and engaged. It makes me want to keep looking.

Resonance is a very important quality for me, therefore, to incorporate into, and discover, and appreciate, in the art that I myself make. Most of the pieces that I have made that are my favorites, contain this kind of resonance in them.

It's how I look at art, and how I think about it, and what I look for.

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